Teacher raises approved despite decrease in state funding

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

May 15, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.

Despite anticipated loss in state funding, Victoria school district teachers will still be seeing a boost in their salaries next school year.

"Our administrators have gone through every nook and cranny to find extra dollars," said Estella De Los Santos, VISD school board trustee, at a regular monthly board meeting Thursday evening.

Trustees were presented with a draft budget by VISD administrators that showed a $2.9 million decrease in state resources and a $4.6 million increase in local funding.

"When property values go up and your ADA (Average Daily Attendance) stays the same, the more funds the state takes," said Robert Jaklich, VISD superintendent.

Teachers, depending on years of experience, will see raises ranging between $1,500 to $1,700 next school year.

Paraprofessionals will also receive a 60-cent increase in their hourly rates.

Administrators will see a general raise of $1,500 in their salaries as well.

"Investing in our people is what it's all about," said Bernard Klimist, VISD board vice president. "We can't depend on the state government to help us; we've got to have our own resources."

A portion of the anticipated $2.9 million loss will go back to the state, Jaklich said.

He hopes to see the state return those funds to schools across the state by supporting teacher raises or universal Pre-K, Jaklich said.

"If we got additional dollars, we would absolutely get more teachers starting with our priority schools so we can have lower class sizes so we can provide better learning environments," Jaklich said.

The last time the state provided teachers with raises was in 2006, the superintendent said.

"Those raises were not offered to school employees in non-teaching positions," Jaklich said.

No increase in the total tax rate was included in the draft budget.

The final budget won't be approved until after property values are finalized in July.

In other business, VISD Board President Tami Keeling was sworn into office for a fourth three-year term.

Total revenues, which is part of the 2014-15 proposed draft budget, come to $110,570,192 - a $3.1 million increase over last year.

VISD Trustee Lou Svetlik, who was absent Thursday, will be sworn back onto the board at a later date, Keeling said.

During the reorganization of the board, an annual tradition, Keeling was voted as board president, Klimist as board vice president and trustee Kevin VanHook as secretary.



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